Cookies to celebrate the Solstice

 I love embracing the traditions and the foods of all the countries I have lived. In Austria, no Christmas is complete without baking small, bite-sized biscuits called Weihnachtskekse, or Christmas cookies. The most well known may be Lebkuchen, or gingerbread men, but my favorite are Vanillakipferl, the tiny almond cookies shaped like a crescent moon. They are as crumbly and light as shortbread. Even though the form comes from the Austro-Hungarian empire (legend has it that the shape resembles the Turkish crescent moon to celebrate the Austrian triumph over the last invading Turkish army) I think these could also be called Moon Cookies, to be eaten on the Solstice. Sometimes I need to forget all the rules and eat not so healthy to remind myself why I normally don’t eat this way. Here is the recipe:

— 200 g butter
— 100 g sugar
— 100 g ground hazelnuts
— 260 g flour
— vanilla or powdered sugar (or a mixture of both)

Mix the butter, sugar and flour and hazelnuts and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until it is firm. Cut the forms into 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide strips (like worms) and form them into tiny crescent moons and place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at about 180 c (350 f). Drop them one by one, while still warm, in a bowl of powdered sugar until they are coated, and try not to eat too many because they are addictive.